APA study supports psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment with many benefits to people with mental and behavioural health issues. This is according to new research from the American Psychological Association, which suggested the approach is not used as often as it should be.

The study found psychotherapy provides health improvements in the long-term and also serves to reduce the overall need for health services.

However, while the use of medicine-related treatment has escalated over the last ten years, the opposite is true of psychotherapy.

Melba Vazquez, former President of the American Psychological Association, noted consumers are being constantly told how drugs can quickly solve all their issues.

Ms Vazquez stated: "Our goal is to help consumers weigh those messages with research-based information about how psychotherapy can provide them with safe, effective and long-lasting improvements in their mental and physical health."

She added psychotherapies can offer cost-effective alternatives to those struggling to afford increasing healthcare fees.

Professor Peter Kinderman, a Chartered Psychologist from the University of Liverpool, says:

"This is extremely positive and welcome news - although thoroughly expected.  

The past few years have seen a welcome increase in our understanding of psychological health and well-being. This has meant we are much more aware of distress and mental health difficulties, more understanding of such problems and more open towards people in distress. Unfortunately, we've also seen a worrying tendency to medicalise these problems - to diagnose rather than understand, to prescribe rather than help, and to look (in vain) for biological rather than social answers. 

This study reinforces and supports a much more humane approach. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviours - our psychological health and well-being - are largely a product of how we make sense of the world, and this is more a product of our experiences and upbringing than anything else. We need a psychological, not medical approach to these kinds of difficulties. We need to understand rather than diagnose, and to look to social, not medical, solutions.

Of course 'therapy is an effective solution', because our mental health and well-being is - of course - a psychological and social matter."